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[Oireachtas] Leader's Questions. (28 Feb 2007)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2007/02/28/00003...

Mr. Kenny: Yesterday, I raised the serious incident arising from an alleged paedophile ring in Dublin. Today, I wish to refer again to an issue affecting our young people. We have known for a long time that young teenagers are regularly getting hammered on drink. We know now from a report being published today that they are also getting high on drugs.

The report shows that four out of ten children under 15 years of age have sampled drugs. That makes us number three in the world for trying out drugs. When it comes to girls, tragically, we are number one in the world for trying out drugs. That is an 8% increase in eight years. When I raised the issue of drugs a fortnight ago, the Taoiseach stated: “I do not believe we should say... there are serious drug problems in every village, community and locality because that is not the case”. Fr. McVerry rightly pointed out drugs are apparently available within five minutes of any location. We know the duties of parental responsibility include that parents know where their children are at any time and who they are with, but today’s report is a damning indictment of the state of society in so far as young teenage boys and girls are concerned.

Mr. Brennan: They sample drugs.

Mr. Kenny: I am not sure what action the absent and sometimes hysterical Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has taken about respectable Ireland, which, according to reports, regularly snorts vast quantities of white powder, namely, cocaine.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy’s time is concluded.

Mr. Kenny: In the Taoiseach’s view, what state do we have to reach before he realises the reality of what is happening and for him to agree there is a crisis that needs to be addressed? Is it five out of ten, six out of ten or seven out of ten? What is the Government’s strategy in terms of constantly reminding parents of their responsibilities and children of the dangers in addition to the actions of the State in being able to address this issue?

The Taoiseach: Enormous and substantive progress has been made in the past 15 or 20 years in the implementation of all aspects of the drugs strategy to deal with issues relating to drugs.

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